Athletes Will Get Condoms as a Parting Gift After Tokyo Games, Organizers Say

Athletes at the Tokyo Games won’t get their hands on free condoms until after the competition.
June 21, 2021, 10:16am
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Athletes will share rooms and sleep on recycled cardboard beds. Photo: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Free condoms customarily handed out to athletes at the Olympics will this year be withheld until the end of the event, the organizing committee of the Tokyo Games said, as pandemic risks loom over the Olympic Village.

The decision, reported by Japanese news agency Kyodo News on Sunday, was a break from a practice since 1988 meant to prevent the transmission of HIV. 

The Olympics are known for being a hotbed of one night stands, but Tokyo Games’ organizers said they will enforce social distancing in the athletes’ village due to the threats of COVID-19. 

But even if athletes decide to risk a penalty and get it on, they may have second thoughts when they go back to their room and see their cardboard bed. Previously, the maker of the eco-friendly bed said it could support two people at most. Threesomes, however, are most likely out of the question.

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The recyclable cardboard bed athletes will be sleeping on. Photo: Akio KON / POOL / AFP

For contact tracing, athletes are also expected to provide a list of all the people they will be regularly seeing during the games to a liaison officer. This can include their coach, physiotherapists, and team members. Failing to follow this rule, such as seeing people who aren’t on the list, could result in punishments from warnings to disqualification.

The ban on sex and other types of physical encounters are just one of many restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Some 18,000 athletes and officials are prohibited from leaving the 44-hectare village, located in Tokyo’s Harumi waterfront district. Socializing is also discouraged.

Athletes will be allowed to bring alcohol into the village, but they must consume it in their rooms, by themselves or with their regular roommates. 

At mealtimes in the dining halls, Olympians must keep 2 meters (6.6 feet) of distance from one another and wear a mask at all times when not eating or drinking. Plastic dividers will also be set up on tables.

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The main dining hall in the Olympic Village, where 45,000 meals will be served daily. Photo: Behrouz MEHRI / AFP

Japan’s slow vaccination rollout and recent rise in cases have made locals weary of hosting the games during a global pandemic. A recent Kyodo News poll found that 86 percent of people fear a rebound in coronavirus cases if the Olympic and Paralympic Games are held, which are set to begin on July 23.

Some worry that the arrival of thousands of attendees will spread new, more contagious variants of COVID-19. On Saturday night, a member of the Ugandan Olympic team was denied entry into Japan after a positive test, the first known case among Olympic teams.

To reassure Olympic skeptics, the International Olympic Committee has provided 40,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines for athletes and staff. The committee said that 75 percent of all prospective attendees have already or will be vaccinated, and over 80 percent would be inoculated by the time the games start.

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A photo booth area, where athletes can pose in front of icons such as a traditional Japanese bathhouse and train. Photo: Jinhee Lee/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Athletes are expected to refrain from sightseeing in Tokyo, but they’ll still get a taste of Japanese cuisine. The casual dining hall, which now only seats 280 people, will serve popular Japanese food, such as tempura, rice balls, and okonomiyaki. Sushi, however, won’t be on the menu, according to Kyodo News, which did not say why.

On Monday, the Tokyo Games organizers said a maximum of 10,000 spectators will be allowed at each venue, which can at most be half full.

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